I Won't Stand With Phil Robertson

"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."

This quote from Gandhi has always weighed heavily on my heart. I long for the ability to love, sacrifice and refrain from judgment in a way that looks like my Christ. I think we all should, and Christians in America: We have got a long way to go.

This is one reason I won’t stand with Phil Robertson. I’ve heard a lot of arguments defending him and, for at least the sake of provoking thought, I’m going to break down my disagreements here.

This is America. Freedom of speech.

First of all, freedom of speech in our country is never absolute. Educate yourself.

Second, freedom of speech comes from the federal government, not from A&E. As much as Phil Robertson has the freedom to say these things in an interview, A&E has the freedom to suspend him and openly disagree with him.

It happens all the time. It wasn’t that long ago that MSNBC suspended Ed Shultz for calling Laura Ingraham “a right wing slut.” You can’t work for a network and expect not to comply with the public relations initiatives they have in place. Censorship by an employer is not the censorship prohibited by the First Amendment.

He was just stating his beliefs.

His comments on the Pre-Civil Rights South are not of anything I’ve ever read in the Bible.

The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field… They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’ – not a word! …Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were you happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

In my family, there are 5 generations of native-born Texans before me. My family knows Pre-Civil Rights South, and what they describe doesn’t parallel Phil Robertson’s words in the slightest. Blacks were segregated into different schools, restaurants, bathrooms, train cars, hospital wings, prisons and on and on. They were lynched. They were beaten.

No one was singing the blues? What a belittling, offensive, ignorant way to discuss a time of racism, degradation and literal murder in our country.

I think most people who use this argument – that A&E and everyone already knew the beliefs of the Robertson family and that the patriarch of their family was simply stating those beliefs – are probably referring mostly to his comments on homosexuality.

It seems, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

Really, though? This is graphic, to say the least. I don’t see that it spreads anything but offense. It also, as I’ve seen many people point out, demonstrates that he has absolutely zero understanding of homosexuality. To him, it seems like a vagina would be more desirable than a man’s anus? Um yeah…that’s probably because he isn’t gay.

Greg Boyd from Woodland Hills Baptist Church has to be one of my favorite speakers and teachers of all time. He encourages his church to step away from the fear propaganda that surrounds homosexuality and to love and bless others, no matter the sin you might think they have. He challenges that pointing fingers and condemning any sinner (and if you consider homosexuality a sin, then that should be included) is not the job of any Christian. If you considerate it a sin, you shouldn’t address it unless you are in a close, intimate relationship with the person and, even then, it should be addressed in private and in love.

The ironic truth is that the sins of the church in America…tend to be those that are most emphatically denounced in scripture. I mean, you find thousands of verses against idolatry. It’s the number one sin in the Bible – the idolatry of hoarding more than you need when there are people who have less than they need, the idolatry of eating more than you need when there are people who don’t have enough food, the idolatry of getting your life, your significance or your worth from your possessions or your position or your achievements or you supposed superior holiness. It’s all idolatry, and the church of America tends to be massively guilty of those sorts of sins…and yet, it downplays that. Then, it makes homosexuality the sin of all sins…though it’s mentioned at most three times in the Old Testament and three times in the New.

What’s wrong with this picture?

In fact, the church of America tends to not only minimize these sins that it tends to be guilty of, many segments of Christianity “Christianize” them. People feel righteous because they’ve got more than they need when there are others who’ve got less than they need, and they feel righteous having more food than they need when there are others who have less food than they need because this is a sign that we’re “blessed.”

That punches me right in the gut. My sin is the sin of all sins. My sin is the plank in my eye. Point blank.

The fact that, in Robertson’s interview, he later groups homosexuality with bestiality seems so clearly distasteful and mistaken to me that - honestly - I can’t even attempt to discuss that one.

Back to the argument, though: I am so confused at the strong movement by Christians to defend this man for “stating his beliefs.” If we state our beliefs and, at the same time offend, judge, and turn people away from Christianity, aren’t we in the wrong? If we are stating our beliefs in sarcasm, judgment and insult rather than in love, aren’t we in the wrong?

I don’t see how these comments reach anyone in a positive way. I don’t see how these comments emulate a Christ-like love and acceptance. I don’t see how these comments tell people to come, come AS YOU ARE. Because of that, I won’t stand with Phil Robertson.

A&E needs Duck Dynasty more than Duck Dynasty needs A&E.

Yes, the Robertson family has MILLIONS. They are filthy rich, Duck Dynasty show or not. Although, with ten cable television channels under A+E Television Networks, like Lifetime and the History Channel, the company will also be just fine.

I’m betting A+E has a pretty good assessment of where the need is, and it doesn’t seem to be in Phil Robertson’s presence. Otherwise, the suspension probably wouldn’t have occurred.

He’s being targeted because he’s a Christian.

He isn’t being targeted because he’s a Christian. He’s being targeted because he made ignorant, insensitive comments in a very public forum.

For those who think there is some war against Christians in America, though, all I can say is…So what?

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.

Count it all joy.

Why we get so up in arms over persecution in America has baffled me for the last few years. We scream that they’re coming after our Christmas, they’re coming after our prayer, they’re coming after our beliefs.

Boyd has an incredible sermon series that addresses the flaws in American Christianity, like the idea that we need to fight this persecution with a strong fist.

What would Jesus do? The question is always, ‘What would Jesus do?’ And I don’t find him a lot fighting for his rights. In fact, to me, the way he intentionally spread the Kingdom of God was by refusing to fight for his rights. He could have fought for his rights, but he just said, ‘No, go ahead and crucify me.’

It might be that a persecution in the church of America would be the best thing that ever happened to us, if you think about it. It would blow sky high some of the Pollyanna Christianity we got going on. It would blow apart this religion as a self-secure, make-you-feel-comfortable, cool-my-life-a-little bit stuff. It’d blow apart the idea that Christianity’s a civic religion that has primarily to do with praying before football games. It’d blow apart - if we started getting persecuted - the myth that this is a Christian nation. It’d blow apart the idea that 80% of the people in this country are Christians - they’d hightail it real, real quick. It’d blow apart idolatrous patriotism. It’d blow apart this idea that, when the Bible says that all the nations in the world are under the power of Satan, somehow America is excluded from that, that somehow it doesn’t apply to America. It’d blow apart a lot of the civic social religion. It would make us get serious about our faith, and that’s a good thing. It might be that a persecution’s exactly what the doctor ordered, in terms of turning this thing around and bringing genuine Christianity into the culture.

Never has the church been persecuted where it didn’t grow. Never has the church conquered the culture where it didn’t die.

…So much of the religion of America is about getting outraged about sex and about fighting for our rights. Those are the two buttons you push if you want to get Christians to act. Those are two things I never see Jesus doing.

…In the early church, people considered it an honor to be killed for their faith. Today, we have a religion that’s largely centered on fighting for our rights. Something has changed.

Phil Robertson may be a great person in a lot of ways. He may do all sorts of wonderful things that spread the love of Christ. But I won’t defend him in this issue because, frankly, this right here does the opposite. It spreads hate, judgment and a perception of Christianity with which I won’t align myself. This ant-gay, ignorant type of speech is something with which I don’t understand any person aligning himself or herself.